Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This past Saturday, I learned that a friend of mine died in a car crash while returning from a concert in Nashville. Initially, I was shocked, and then about an hour or so later, the grief set in, followed by a number of questions. I couldn’t stop thinking about her kids and wondering if they were alright, etc. It was surreal.

My friend’s name was Cynthia, and she was instrumental in allowing my Speakeasy open-mic to move in to the spot she bartended and booked shows at. We immediately indoctrinated her into the fold, and she quickly became Speakeasy family. After a while, I gave her a microphone to keep behind the bar, and we’d go back and forth throughout the night each week. I started calling her Big Mama, and it was a very fitting nickname, because for friends and family, she was immensely loving and generous.

Over the years, our paths kind of diverted a little bit when Speakeasy left the bar she worked at. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I’ve committed more into following my art and the opportunities that it has afforded me. During that time, Cynthia became a staunch advocate for autism awareness. She’s been instrumental in putting on a number of fundraisers for the cause, and I was extremely proud of her for pursuing her passion.

What is so troubling about losing her is the timing. Less than two weeks ago, she celebrated her anniversary. The day after she passed, an event called Pints for Autism III took place that she’d played a vital role in bringing to fruition. She and I, during our last conversation, had made tentative plans to see each other there.

Last Thursday, I performed at The Hunter, and one of the poems in my set is called How We Celebrate. It’s about celebrating Hip-Hop culture, but also about celebrating yourself. I told the audience that another day isn’t promised, and with that in mind, it’s vital to celebrate the things and people that we have in our lives while we have them. I had no idea that that statement would hit home so hard in only a matter of days. None of us ever really do though, do we?

I, like many others, am extremely saddened by her passing and the manner by which it occurred. However, I am elated to have known her, to have made her smile, laugh, and to have had her touch my life. I never once had a bad time with Cynthia. She’s a tremendous spirit, and I couldn’t be more pleased by the woman that she was.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Making Sense of the Senseless

What a week. What a day! I’ve been gearing up for my performance at The Hunter this coming Thursday, and everything has been coming along incredibly. Earlier today, I met with an immensely talented and skilled violinist who’ll be performing at the show to rehearse, and it was the last piece of the puzzle. I genuinely feel in my heart of hearts that my special guests and I are going to bring something resonant and unique to the table. I’ve been energized all day as a result.


However, like MANY out there, things changed when I watched the Zimmerman verdict. I felt supremely disappointed, and I had to get out and try to do something to take my mind off of the situation… even if it was just for a few hours.

There are so many issues at the heart of the situation involving the incident, the trial, and, now, the verdict. As a Black male, particularly one who just so happens to live in The South, I’ve experienced stereotyping, profiling, etc. I still experience it, and, more than likely, always will. I also had a police officer pull a gun on me in Tampa, FL… while I was driving my brother-in-law around for some pizza by the slice.

I think my immediate disappointment was that what motivated George Zimmerman’s actions can also motivate something to happen to me, people in my family, and many other people, simply based on the clothes we wear, our skin, and where we end up going or being. The stigma of being a Black male is so strong that even our children are at risk, because their existence somehow is a threat… still, in 2013.

Earlier in the week, I bought a Raiders hat at a Foot Locker. Now, I haven’t even stepped foot inside a Foot Locker in years (I probably had hair the last time that happened, and I’ve been bald for over four years). The bulk of the attire they have for sale there is the same attire that white kids, Black kids, Lil’ Wayne, etc. wear. It's all pretty common in this day and age. It’s also the same attire that was referred to as “thug wear” by Geraldo. Go figure.

I know this entry is a ramble. It’s very difficult to try to make sense out of the senseless. I have no clue what the rest of George Zimmerman’s life will be like, or how long people will be celebrating the verdict. All I have is hope. It is the hope that we will do better as a society and as a collective people. I hope that this, the Paula issue, and whatever comes next truly affords us the opportunity to really address and confront RACE to enable us to reach a better place. Here’s for hoping.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome to July

Welcome to July! We’re officially seven months in, and it’s been quite the journey thus far. The past several weeks have been really interesting on my end. Let’s jump into the goings on!

First, I am VERY PROUD to say that the recording of my debut EP is complete! Everything that I am waiting for now (and it’s very little) is on the legal and technical side of the coin, but things are coming along. I’m extremely antsy though and I want you fine people to hear the record. I’m eager to get the baby out there, but I’m being patient while wrapping up the last bit of business. If you enjoyed Night Watch, I promise that you’ll love the rest of the material.

Next, I’ve been thinking about making more music. I have a few ideas cooked up, so we’ll see what

happens. Everything on Between Beauty & Bedlam came about in a really organic fashion, so I’m

not too keen on trying to force anything, but I would love to bang out a few more songs.

Oh, ladies and gents, my T-SHIRTS arrived last week, and they are OFFICIALLY for sale. If you’re a poet, storyteller, hipster, etc., I’ll have you stylin’ as you attack your day. If you’re interested in buying one, feel free to comment or e-mail me at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com and I’ll promptly get in touch with you.

Let’s see. On the 18th of this month, I will be returning to The Hunter museum to perform. The Hunter is a beautiful establishment and is definitely one of my favorite places to rock out. I’ve been bouncing some ideas around for my set, and if things work out, I’ll have some phenomenal people helping to create something special. There’ll be poetry, there’ll be some sonic exploration and improvisation, and more. I can’t give away everything, can I?

Tomorrow night, I’m hosting a Speakeasy session at a place called Planet Altered, and I’m really excited. I’ve gushed about Speakeasy for years, but, honestly, it helped make me the man and artist that I am today. I love the community and the creative connection, and being able to facilitate that is an honor. Plus, every time that I get to make it happen, it always feels like a special time.

Well, that’s about it for now, brothers and sisters. Be good, stay cool, and I’ll be blogging again before too long.